NVC to DC for National Memorial Day Choral Festival

North Valley Chorale (NVC) represented Arizona at the this year’s National Memorial Day Choral Festival in Washington, DC. Selected as one of eight choirs from across the US by Music Celebrations International, NVC members performed a two day engagement in DC. Led by former Mormon Tabernacle Choir director, Dr. Craig Jessop, the Memorial Day Festival Chorus concert* at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featured over 250 singers. Accompaniment was provided by the United States Air Force Symphony Orchestra.


National Memorial Day Chorus performing at JFK Center for Performing Arts.

NVC members also participated in the opening ceremonies for the 2013 National Memorial Day Parade. Hear the group singing America the Beautiful from the steps of the National Archives Building at

The North Valley Chorale was represented at the National Memorial Day Choral Festival by Director Eleanor Johnson, and members Mary Ellen Brooks, Barb Hohne, Kelly Johnson, Margaret Mc Cathy, Anita Murcko, Margaret Neno, Joanne Trifilo, Katherine Gleason, Mary Hungate, Mary Newman, Veronica Christensen, Herbert Schatell, Graham Johnson, Craig Metzger, and Mark Wallace. The Kennedy Center Playbill contained details about NVC, its director and listed each participant by name. Many family members and friends were also on hand to share in this “unforgettable experience.”

NVC veteran representatives Edward Murcko (A. Murcko) and Gary Schade (J. Trifilo) laid a wreath at the World War II Memorial wall to commemorate Arizona’s veterans, and NVC remembered our fallen heroes at the Arlington Cemetery and the Iwo Jima, Korean War and Vietnam War Memorials.


Dr. Jessop directs the Memorial Day Chorus and United States Air Force Symphony Orchestra at JFK Center.

Festival highlights shared by NVC members:

“Being part of the transformation from eight really different choirs from Arizona, California, North Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi–to one voice…Wow!”

“Working with Dr. Jessop was a thrill…like a three day private masters lesson.”

“This was an amazing experience I’ll never forget–performing at the Kennedy Center with my best friends!”

“This was my first visit to DC…so inspiring to be in the middle of all this rich history AND part of this patriotic celebration.”

“I love my country and I love parades…being part of the Memorial Day parade was the best!”

“The only thing that could have made it better was if EVERYONE was there.” (We agree.)

The North Valley Chorale thanks the National Memorial Day Choral Festival sponsors, Music Celebrations International and the American Veteran’s Center, for the opportunity to participate in this very special musical and patriotic celebration.

*The National Memorial Day Festival Chorus Concert at the Kennedy Center (May 26) featured the US Air Force Symphony Orchestra, conducted and commanded by Colonel Larry H. Lang. The concert included John Williams’ “Summon the Heroes, “The Star Spangled Banner,” The Pledge of Allegiance,” “God of Our Fathers” and Aaron Copeland’s “Lincoln Portrait.” Colonel (ret) Arnald D. Gabriel, Normandy Landing survivor, conducted the very moving “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan. Peter Durow joined the Chorus for the inaugural performance of his new composition “Gettysburg,” followed by “Who are the Brave,” featuring narration and solos by CMS (ret) Harry Gleeson and TSgt Daniel Anderson. The rousing “Proud to Serve” recognized members of Armed Services by branch, followed by “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.” After the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” finale, Dr. Jessop, Col. Lang and the performers received a lengthy standing ovation.